Warning! People!

I had a very social day, and I think it was a bit too social. At the same time, one of my friends sent me a message saying that he’s a bit over loaded with seeing people, but if he stops to take a personal day, he would get behind. When one day of seeing someone wore me out, the idea of seeing lots of people every day is a bit stressful.

In that way, I am very much like Kiana. She’s very shy and quiet, even before her mother’s death. That tragedy has only compounded that, and it took years of James and Aimee’s gentle coaxing for her to come out of her shell.

How much socialising can you stand? Is there a limit?

“No way.” Aimee sat on the couch with an arm around Kiana. “All day, every day, people would be great.”

“Yeah, if it wasn’t for me, Aimee would forgo sleep and get her energy from socialising.” Kiana leant against her friend. “I’m the exact opposite, the fewer people the better. I don’t like people that much, and the ones I do like, I like them in a one-on-one setting. It can sometimes a bit much if they end up multiplying, especially if it’s two very extroverted people.”

“She means me with literally anyone else she doesn’t know super well,” Aimee laughed, turning toward her. “Sorry, you know I need people to thrive.”

Kiana gave her a pat on the knee. “And you’re the reason I end up having to socialise, besides my job.”

“Socialising is good for you, Sunshine.” James Kellington smiled fondly over at the girls. He was very glad that his little cousin had found such a good friend and support system. They had bonded over many things, the first and foremost of being two British lasses of similar age in a world of Americans. Fashion, too, bound them, and their love of modelling, although their reasoning behind it varied. He was the reason that Kiana was here in the first place, and a driving factor in starting her modelling career: a fact that he will always be proud of. Aimee was good for her, and the two were two peas in a pod.

“You always say that, but I happen to think there is nothing better than a quiet day alone with a book and a cuppa.” Kiana held up her cup of black tea with cream but no sugars as proof.

“My dearest cousin, based solely on the amount of tea you drink, we can accurately pin you as a Brit, even before you’ve even spoken,” James smirked. “Not only that, but you have the awkwardness down, and the politeness… can you be much more stereotypical?”

Her eyes glittered as she pondered the query. “I’m working on it. I don’t have a love of football, cricket, or sports of any sort, for what it’s worth, nor do I drink, unless it’s tea.”

“Aaaand we’re back to tea. That was smooth.”

“She does that!” Aimee shook her head, laughing. “You should come to France with me next time I go! The tea-shops are wonderful and you’d love them and the pastries! Ooof, those pastries make me drool just thinking about them.” Two years of living in France had spoiled Aimee, and it was definitely a place she planned to make many trips to in her lifetime, as well as being a part of her retirement plan.

“You keep saying that and we haven’t gone yet,” her friend pointed out, taking a sip from her cup.

“Work’s been good,” she shrugged. “But you’re right. We’ll find some time here soon, hopefully, and take two weeks off. Although… this is actually prime time, right before the proper holiday season starts. Everything really starts to open and be available in April though, so if you’re really serious about it, let’s work on getting out there then.”

Kiana’s eyes lit up. “Are we really doing this?”

“Why not? I’ll never turn down a reason to go, and you’ve never been! Showing someone around would be my absolute pleasure. But!” She paused as the thought occurred to her, “both Holly and my mother might kill me if I plan a trip back without telling them and giving them the option to go, so expect to have some company. The good news is, though, our housing plans definitely get an upgrade if Mama decides to come along.”

Kiana had met all of Aimee’s family the previous Christmas and found herself liking them very much. Holly was much like her little sister and loved to explore, especially with a companion by her side. If there were none available, she would venture out alone and end up making a new friend anyway. The Blackwood matriarch, Brie, was kind and matronly and spent a fair amount of her free time helping at shelters or volunteer work in general. “Oh, what a tragedy. How ever will I bear it?”

“One day at a time, love.” Aimee laughed. “But first! James! People or no people?”

“We all chose very social jobs for us to not,” the word was stressed, “like people at all.” James was both a photographer and a businessman, for he had started Kellington Studios six years ago and it had slowly bloomed into a business that could actually be called profitable. As such, he had quite a few dealings with people for business. “I section off my time, though, so I have people for a bit, then don’t and do a bunch of non-people things before seeing them again. A nice mix seems to be the right amount for now, although some days simply can’t be worked out that way, then I’m just so tired by the time I get home.”

“As a side note, he’s not opposed to giving up his evenings to a girlfriend, if he finds one,” Kiana offered helpfully.

“While this is true, I’m not certain it’s something you need to be broadcasting.”

“What, she already knows!”

“And it’s not like I’m interested,” Aimee added. “Boys just get in the way.”

“Gee, thanks.” James could pretend hurt feelings all he wanted, but they all knew better. “I do think there is a limit to which I can socialise, and while it’s far closer to Aimee’s than it is to Kia’s, I don’t think that is saying much. You two are at completely different ends of the spectrum, and I can’t think of anyone who feeds off people as much as Aimee does. Even I need my own space at times.”

“What’s space?” She asked, innocently, as the line of her body touched Kiana’s.

“Exactly.”

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